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John Hume's island of inclusiveness has yet to be achieved

Dan O'Brien


John Hume was a political colossus, but it is too early to properly judge his legacy on this island, writes Dan O'Brien

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Blessed be the peacemakers: It may be that it’s only when Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald sits at Cabinet in Dublin will it be known whether the sort of inclusive politics John Hume and Seamus Mallon so passionately believed in can be guaranteed on this island. Photo: Pacemaker Press

Blessed be the peacemakers: It may be that it’s only when Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald sits at Cabinet in Dublin will it be known whether the sort of inclusive politics John Hume and Seamus Mallon so passionately believed in can be guaranteed on this island. Photo: Pacemaker Press

Blessed be the peacemakers: It may be that it’s only when Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald sits at Cabinet in Dublin will it be known whether the sort of inclusive politics John Hume and Seamus Mallon so passionately believed in can be guaranteed on this island. Photo: Pacemaker Press

John Hume's death, coming just after the passing of his fellow SDLP titan Seamus Mallon earlier in 2020, closes a chapter. The two men were this island's outstanding democrats and statesmen of their own era. It is by no means a stretch to say that they were the finest public representatives of the entire post-partition era, or indeed of any era.

Hume's commitment to liberal democracy and its values was constant, clear-eyed and unwavering. His belief in the peaceful resolution of inter-communal conflict was maintained throughout a period when the use of violence for political means across the western world was far more common, and for some far more acceptable, than it is today.

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Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Reuters

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Reuters

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Reuters

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